Brown deflects ‘circus’ blame

Thursday June 30, 2016 Written by Published in Politics

THE OPPOSITION are the ones turning the Cook Islands parliament into a circus, not the government, says Finance minister Mark Brown.


He says the opposition’s controversial meeting in parliament on June 20 was captured on video and revealed casually-dressed lawyer and former MP Norman George directing parliament from the public gallery.

Brown was commenting on a letter to the editor from Democratic Party chief executive George Turia published in yesterday’s CI News.

Turia said parliament had been reduced to a circus because of the government’s “slanderous and unprofessional” comments towards coalition opposition members.

He attacked Clerk of Parliament John Tangi for describing the events of Monday, June 20, when opposition coalition MPs gathered at parliament in an attempt to take over the government and install MP Rose Toki Brown as prime minister, as “the work of the devil.”

He also took a swipe at the Finance minister, accusing him of making “blatant remarks” about parliamentary opposition leader Teina Bishop’s upcoming court case, without any legal confirmation.

However, an unrepentant Brown said as far as his statements regarding Bishop’s court case are concerned, the matter had been in the public eye for the last two years.

“Bishop himself commented on it as the reason for stepping down as leader of the opposition in the closing session of parliament before it adjourned sine die.” Brown also commented on a section of Norman George’s weekly column in CI News, which George described as “a breaking news exclusive.”

George claimed he had been tipped off “by an absolutely reliable source,” that last Saturday morning Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters had summoned Avatiu Ruatonga.

MP Albert Nicholas and Teenui Mapumai MP Rose Toki Brown to his home. He had instructed both MPs to go back to the Cook Islands Party, telling them there was no way he would swear in a new government, even if 20 MPs asked him to do so, George said.

“Albert Nicholas wavered, but Rose Toki Brown was resolute. She will not go back to the CIP.”

George claimed that “at this moment” at least two CIP MPs were negotiating secretly to join the new government.

“Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters; what on earth do you think you are doing? To the High Court of the Cook Islands we go,” he added.

But Mark Brown said the question the public would now be asking was whether the opposition would now insist that Rose Brown be the new leader of the opposition.

This was especially as the opposition appeared to have nominated her as their leader and PM-designate, he said.

“In response to the Norman George statements about going to High Court, he obviously has a short memory of the time when (former prime minister) Jim Marurai had a government of six MPs for nearly one year.

“Even 18 MPs could not convince the Queen’s Representative at the time, Sir Fred Goodwin to change the government.

“That’s because he understood the law and stood by it.”

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